He said qualities of understanding, tolerance, judgement and good sense were 'everywhere under attack'.
'They seem to be threatened by pressures in our society which not only undermine those values, but also intimidate the people who hold them.
'It appears to me that a preoccupation with the fashionable theories and trends of the day is threatening to eat away at the values of our society. There is perhaps an inherent danger from those who love to parade a kind of dogmatic arrogance without listening to the views of ordinary people.
'All around us, we see evidence day after day of the short-lived theories and fashions which can undermine our individuality, undermine our confidence, and take too mechanical or untrusting a view of human nature.'
He said he had said six years ago that violence on television and videos could affect the behaviour of children. Now academics were starting to agree with something 'we always knew in our hearts made sense'.
He attacked what he called 'single-issue fanaticism' of some (un-named) pressure groups peddling untested theories. 'This misnamed fashion for what people call 'political correctness' amounts to testing everything, every aspect of society, against a pre-determined, pre-ordained view, and rejecting it if it does not measure up . . .
'Any questioning . . . of the current fashions usually elicits a vitriolic response, whether it is a wish to teach people the basic principles of English grammar . . . or suggesting that in certain circumstances it may be necessary and sensible to administer a smack to your child.'
He said the opinions of ordinary people were preferable to those of some experts. 'Can we really believe the fashionable theorists in the English faculties of our universities who have tried to tear apart many of our wonderful novelists, poets and playwrights because they do not fit their abstruse theories of the day?'
Prince Charles said his views did not mean he was against the avant-garde but he added: 'When the avant- garde becomes the Establishment then, by its very nature, it can sometimes become overbearing, arrogant and destructive.'
In an apparent reference to growing fears among teachers that new laws have made it easier for children to make malicious and false allegations of abuse, the Prince asked: 'Can we really believe that we cannot trust our teachers to treat their pupils with care and sympathy without being misunderstood?'Reuse content